Ballmer Era at Microsoft Now Over, Analyst Says

Steve Ballmer decided to step down as Microsoft board member

Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer announced his decision to step down as company board member only a few hours ago, and although many could see this coming, there’s no doubt that this is a truly important moment for the software giant.

Ballmer said in his retirement letter that he was very busy with other projects and he didn’t have the time to remain focused on Microsoft’s business. He praised the new CEO Satya Nadella for pushing Microsoft towards a mobile-first, cloud-first world, and said that he would keep his company stock for many years from now.

Daniel Ives, an analyst with investment bank FBR & Co., said in a note for investors that Ballmer’s departure was really the end of an era, as the former CEO spent no less than 34 years at the company, becoming the second top executive after Bill Gates.

“It marks the final chapter in the ‘Ballmer era’ at Microsoft,” the analyst said. “We believe it removes the final ‘Ballmer overhang’ at Microsoft. While Mr. Ballmer has been less involved in Microsoft’s operations since retiring earlier this year, we think that his resignation from the board represents a positive, as it leaves the company with a ‘clean sheet of paper’ as to which direction this technology stalwart may head over the coming years in its quest to find greener growth pastures.”

At the same time, the analyst said, Ballmer’s decision to retire would make it easier for Satya Nadella to give Microsoft a new direction, as it’s sometimes difficult to implement your own ideas when the old CEO is still on the board.

“With Nadella leading the charge, we believe more changes at the board level to better align with Microsoft’s cloud/mobile strategy would be a positive,” the analyst pointed out.

Satya Nadella in his turn praised Ballmer for the work he managed to do while at Microsoft, pointing out that his “insights and leadership would be greatly missed as part of the board.”

“First, thank you for all of your support during my transition this year and for the past 34 years. It’s been a great privilege to have worked with you and learned from you. Under your leadership, we created an incredible foundation that we continue to build on — and Microsoft will thrive in the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” Nadella said.

Steve Ballmer has recently completed the purchase of NBA team LA Clippers for a total of $2 billion (€1.5 billion), which is actually one of the main reasons for his decision to retire. Ballmer has already told the LA Clippers fans that he wants to stay really close to the team, so stepping down as Microsoft board member seems just a thing that needed to be made.

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